RealTime IT News

Report: Rise of Broadband Forcing Local Media Outlets Online

The increasing availability of streaming media content via broadband is driving traditional sources of audio media content, such as local radio stations, to shift their focus onto the Internet and develop original online content, says a new report.

The research findings are from Nielsen//NetRatings, the audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings Inc.

In the past six months, the number of streaming media users has jumped 38 percent, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. In April 2000, 36 percent of all active home users accessed some form of streamed audio or video content online, an increase from 28 percent in November 1999

"Broadband and even satellite-delivered content pose both a challenge and opportunity for traditional media providers, especially the local radio stations," said T.S. Kelly, director of Internet Media Strategies at NetRatings.

"Just as cable properties slowly gained market share against their broadcast competitors in the 80s and 90s, non-broadcast audio and video sources from the Internet and elsewhere will make similar inroads in the current decade against traditional sources of content in local markets."

"As individuals go to streaming media providers such as spinner.com and broadcast.com, radio stations will have to make the leap to the Internet to protect local brand equity and attract new listeners who have come to rely on this new medium for content," Kelly said.

More and more people will begin to access streaming content as broadband connectivity solutions such as DSL and cable modems become cheaper and their availability in U.S. households becomes increasingly widespread, the report states.

"Online streaming media consumption has risen significantly as users switch in large numbers from slower access to 56 Kbps modems and higher speed connections," said Kelly.

Nielsen//NetRatings data shows that eight percent of all active home users, or 6.8 million persons two years and older, are accessing the Internet in a broadband environment with speeds higher than 56 Kbps. More than half of all Internet users currently access the Web via a 56 Kbps connection, and the rest of the Web population connects at a speed of 33.3 Kbps or lower. And Web users with broadband connections use rich media content at a far greater rate than narrowband users.